By Staff Sgt. Benjamin
Crane, 133rd Mobile public Affairs Detachment
Over 70 Soldiers from around the State joined the COVID-19 response by helping at “no touch” food banks that serve donated food to hungry families Apr. 7.
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They helped pack bags and boxes of food, moved pallets and
loaded up cars in Lexington, Louisville, Elizabethtown, Covington and another
location in Northern Kentucky, Wilder.
“We’re supporting the governors’ mission in providing local
support to agencies,” said Maj. Phil Mix, 103rd Chemical Battalion’s operations
officer, whose Soldiers were helping with the Free Store Food Bank in Wilder.
“We are here at the local food bank making sure we are able to support
Kentuckians who are in need and we want to make sure we continue to have a
presence and work closely with our communities.”
The National Guard has stepped up in many different ways
around the state and this is just another way that the Guard can make a
difference in their neighbor’s lives in times of crisis.
Due to the age of the food bank volunteers that are having
to self-quarantine because of their high risk factors from to the virus, there
is a big need to have extra hands to aid in all the work that is increasing.
"Many of our volunteers are over 60 and for obvious
reasons, we've asked them to stay home,” said Michael Halligan, CEO of God's
Pantry food bank in Lexington. “The National Guard's help came at the
The Soldiers worked rigorously throughout the day while
being conscious to keep their social distancing.
“We’re still working as a 103rd chemical team, we just have
to be six feet apart and we’re still fighting an enemy, its just that the enemy
is a billion times smaller,” added Mix.
For the Soldiers, getting to help during this time is
personal and allows them to feel like they are not only helping others but
those that are close to them.
"My grandpa is a vet and he's sick right
now. If he catches the virus then it would be bad,” said Spc. Grant Simmons, with the 149th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, helping at Feeding America, Kentucky’s Heartland food
bank in Elizabethtown. “I think about other people's grandparents and I'm proud to be in the
process of helping them, too."
The Soldiers will continue their mission at
these food banks for the next several weeks to keep the supply chain going and
make sure that the food banks can continue their service to the communities.
More than 28,400 National Guardsman from every
state in the nation has answered the call to help in response to the COVID -19